One major advantage of Digital Photography is that the photo can be manipulated readily on the computer. There are numerous software packages that can be used for this task, and usually a basic package is provided when you purchase a digital camera.

For serious or preofessional image processing though, one of the best and most popular software packages is "Photoshop". You can learn the basics of Photoshop in a thorough yet easy to follow distance education course with ACS Distance Education.

 Click here for details or to enrol.


Scanning 35 mm Transperancies (Slides)

Prior to digital photography a major form of photography for many people was 35mm transperancies; and some photo collections still consist mostly in this form.

Slides can be scanned on a simple flat bed scanner if an appropriate mounting is used; but the quality of such a scan will never be close to the quality of the original. To achieve a top quality scan of a 35mm transperancy, you need to use a "film scanner".

The whole process of scanning slides can be relatively slow, but once scanned it is possible to make copies and in theory, retain photographic images indefinitely with no loss of quality. The original slide on the other hand can deteriorate over  time. Dust, light and general wear and tear can all cause deterioration. In view of this, any valuable transperancy images are in the long term better scanned and stored digitally.


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When you decide to apply some type of special effect and process a photo to improve the image, it is important that you consider not only what might be able to be achieved, but also how much time and effort is likely to be involved. Every extra hour that is spent on a photo does need to be justified.

Before spending time on processing an image:

  • Consider the end goal of these images, and where will they be seen.
  • Try pre visualising to conceive some idea of what “end look” you are aiming for.
  • Consider the effect you might apply and whether you have the skills to use those effects properly
  • Know where the image is likely to be used, for example: print, canvas, paper, slide show AV, web sharing etc.

Multiple Exposure
A double exposure is where two images are captured in the one photo, one over the other.  You don’t need to stop at two exposures either - if you do three, four or more exposures of the same image all sorts of possibilities arise (e.g. the same person appears multiple times in the same photograph). This is mainly done with a film camera but a number of digital cameras can also have this functionality.

Another way of creating a multiple exposure effect is to merge two photos together, after they have been taken separately. A person who has never travelled to England, for instance, could be superimposed on a photograph of Big Ben, to create the perception that they had visited England. Post production software can do this e.g. Photoshop, Corel, Photo paint, Gimp .etc.

Using Lenses for Special Effects
Fisheye lenses are extremely wide angled lenses that can view an image across 220° of the possible 360°in a circle. Imagine capturing everything you can see from a little behind the left side of your body, all the way through to everything behind the right side; all at the same time, that is what this is. This isn’t a natural view for a human, and an image captured like this will be distorted, but interesting!

Using Filters for Special Effects
A number of filters would fall into the category of special effects. A few are listed below IR – Infrared used to capture the warmth or heat of a scene, a warm object appears lighter and cold darker.

  • A strong Neutral Density filter can slow the shutter speed of a camera down considerably. This allows for long exposures during the day which will allow you to show movement in cloud water. or people as well as many other objects.
  • Some other filters to look at are Sunspot, Zoom and Star filters.


Special Effects Settings on a Digital Camera
In the competitive market of digital cameras, a selling point to differentiate one camera to the rest is the special effect mode in the camera.
Some of the well-known examples are:

  • HDR
  • Pinhole
  • Wide angle

Collage Montage

With digital images and modern software the art of collage has become within reach of anyone that has the software images as well as some patience and ability to learn. With software you can use layers, and then position them on top of each other. You can blank out sections of layers to allow the underlying image to show through. This is similar to placing pieces of transparent film on top of each other. Collage is popular in the area of scrap booking and great to give as gifts or presents.

Toning and Hand Colouring
These techniques can be used to add colour to old black and white photographs. If you want to learn these techniques, it will take practice and plenty of experimentation, trial and error. Expect mistakes, but recognise that mistakes are needed if you are going to learn.

Hand colouring works well with matte or semi-matte black and white prints. The colour is usually added as water based dyes or special photo oils.

Toning can be used to add colour to some types of black and white prints by applying special chemical agents. The most common type of toning involves adding a chemical that changes silver in a print to brown (sepia) or blue. It is always important to follow instructions carefully if using chemicals to treat existing prints.
With digital images hand toning is not really relevant. But converting to black and white is an art form in itself. As colour sensors on digital camera capture light in red, green and blue, we can take advantage of this information when we convey our images to black and white. We can us more of the red channel for scene with a lovely blue sky this will then darken the blues in the sky. The same effect was achieved on film with red filters on the lens. Once converted to black and white we can create sepia tone like images, with layers and certain adjustments in post production software like Photoshop.